When Minority Came to Countering: An Anti-Vax Discussion

How often do us "NDs and skeptics and passive aggressive Mommies" (Stagliano) get the chance for an honest conversation with the other side? It's not like it's going to happen at AoA, after all. Some of us still do so on the relevant posts at Huffington Post, but really, that's down to five or ten dedicated folks on each side hammering away at each other. Sure, Jen does her part at Respectful Insolence, as does Robert Schecter. But still, the chance for true exchanges when whispering on facebook pages and closed forums can occur? Rare, I tell you. So let me tell you how thrilled I was when Minority (no profile available) came over to echo a facebook whispering (Inside Vaccines):

quote: "Despicable behavior from an often vile group of people should not be surprise to anyone."
Ah, tolerance, understanding, sympathy...nice to see them directed at your fellow parents of children with autism. Along with all the lovely pictures of flowers.
May 16, 2011 10:42 PM 

Instead of commenting on the top post about Handley's lack of decency, Minority decided to post a couple posts back where she could ignore the pesky inconvenience of Handley's words demonstrating an appalling lack of "tolerance, understanding, sympathy." So much easier, too, to skip right over the next post on accountability while taking care to consider where people were coming from: "Cutting Some Slack While Maintaining Accountability." 

Isn't that an interesting choice? Bury it where no one will likely see it but me? Well, I don't want folks to miss it, and I sure wouldn't want Minority to miss my response. Such an attempt at honest communication, the offer of a real exchange, well, that shouldn't be relegated to a comment on a post no one will read? 

So here's my response and I have to tell you, I am positively oozing with excitement that we'll all get the chance to have a real conversation, you know? A meeting of the minds, a chance to share and grow closer. After all, I have to assume that Minority in coming here wants to engage in sharing that "tolerance, understanding, and sympathy" (Minority) with all of us "NDs and skeptics and passive aggressive Mommies" (Stagliano) who are so terribly busy being "derivative" and,  I'm guessing, stuck at the bottom of our "narcissistic pond[s]" (Stagliano).

After all, the AoA folks are positively afloat in their "tolerance, understanding, and sympathy" for their fellow autism parents. Don't you feel the love in Stagliano's comment there? Yes, all those positively gooey emotions are in full force over at AoA, so let's make sure we take the time to cultivate that downright homey atmosphere here as well.


How very thoughtful of you to come and post directly (and not on the most current Handley post) instead of chit-chatting about me elsewhere. So very bold of you, as is your clear identification of yourself; I always like knowing exactly who I'm chatting with. I'm pretty sure you're minority view, right?

The cognitive dissonance in writing your comment must have been positively whiplashing. You must have missed the post above the one you commented on that was about accountability. We can take into account where a person is, but people are accountable for their words and their actions.

I never claimed a Jesus-like status and an ability to turn the other cheek, dear. The AoA bunch acts despicably. 

Despicable: "so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation "

Empathy for the struggles, understanding for the difficulties: yes, I have that, but that does not excuse behaving despicably. And it doesn't win them a free pass. It's that pesky accountability thing again.

That does not excuse Nazi-references or believing that the pharma companies are conducting eugenics programs. Nor does it excuse photoshopped pictures, slander and libel, attacking people simply because they're science writers, spreading verifiably inaccurate information about people like the Offits or about vaccines. 

The folks who run AoA and the worst of the commenters, who spread hate and despair, whose rhetoric takes the already emotionally fragile and tips them over the edge: these are the people deserving of tolerance? No. Understanding? Are you playing the appeal to pity card here? They've got it so hard; it's only understandable they'd need to act in such a craven manner? A free pass is essentially what you're suggesting they be given. No.

Feel sorry for? Yeah, maybe. I can feel sorry that their emotional lives are apparently such barren wastelands that they actively seek to make others' lives just as barren. I can feel sorry that they are filled with such impotent rage that they have nothing better to do with their time than congregate to tell tales about how the governmental and industrial powers are seeking to poison them and their children and how anyone who stands in these parents' way of revealing these truths are evil or being paid for their actions.

But sure, I can feel sympathy for them. Living within that bottomless pit has to be hell, especially given that they make so many other people's lives hell. After all, they're willing and desiring of bringing down the entire vaccination program and condemning hundreds of thousands to sickness and suffering and thousands to death. Nice bunch of fellow parents.

To the best of my knowledge, none of them at AoA have ever considered me a fellow parent. After all, Stagliano would apparently consider me nothing more than one of those "passive aggressive Mommies." And I have no problem noting that out and about where people feel free to whisper that I can see no evidence that I am ever considered a "fellow parent." 

You are now free to scurry back to your in-crowd, Minority, and whisper away. Do you really think that it could be upsetting to me to find that people who believe all manner of conspiracy theories and woo would disagree with me and find me "not the brightest bulb?" 

I have no interest in being associated with or thought well of by the people who follow AoA. That's a group I'm happy to be an outcast of. In fact, feel free to mutter in far away corners where few will ever see it. 

Just like the seeds of the milk thistle that float away on the wafting wind, dispersing, so too do I believe that ultimately the anti-vaccine movement will disperse. Maybe you'll achieve that dispersal through Jenny McCarthy's hope: "I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.” 

Maybe instead, the people who have been misled by the atrocious misinformation people like Minority spread will finally wake up. I'm ever the cup half-full kinda gal, so I'm going to be optimistic.

Either way, the denizens of the furtive anti-vaccine groups can feel free to whisper away. It makes me no never mind.

Update: I can see that a few folks are coming over from another blogger and for some reason that this same blogger is referring people to a comment from a year ago which has no relation to this post. If you are one of those folks who are admittedly anti-vaccine or who just want a little more information, let me direct you to this post: http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/2011/05/random-thoughts-on-community-cacophony.html.

Thanks and y'all have a lovely day. Make sure you drop by the Autism Blogs Directory, too, and if you've got a blog and would like it added, email me. :-)


Anonymous said...

I've read a few attacks on you lately, and they inevitably turn into very personal name-calling attacks, rather than dealing with your arguments. It is perfectly possible to attack your claims about Handley without name-calling - just show the facts or logic to be false - but they seem to avoid the actual issue and go straight to attacking you for not loving everyone unconditionally; while performing the exact indiscretion they are accusing you of.

I've never seen you threaten the children and spouses of people who oppose you. I've never seen you state that death or disease are an acceptable price to get a message across. But I've seen claims exactly like these and worse from those you are intolerant of, and I would think less of you if you were tolerant of such views.

KWombles said...

I'm usually aware that something is going on out there if the blogger is kind enough to link to my blog; I can see where readers are coming from.

However, these posts tend to be by individuals who so badly disabused me of the notion of their decency or fairness that I quit reading them once I realized that real discussion was not possible, so I do not read the originating post or any comments left there.

I think that as much as possible we should try to clearly state why we disagree and back that up with evidence. Sometimes, name-calling occurs, but I try to have offered sufficient evidence that no one will question why I've labeled someone a dumbass, for example.

Since I've never pretended perfection, I have no problem with someone saying I'm a hypocrite. We are all hypocrites, even when we do our best to be consistent with our beliefs.

It appears to be one of those inabilities for people to realize I can decide they are a dumbass and still feel compassion for them. I believe in that strongly enough that I cowrite a blog called Even Dumbasses Have Feelings, after all. And beyond that, those kinds of claims usually end up to be tu quoque fallacies on their parts.

If the strongest argument someone can make is that I am not tolerant of all because I write posts that point out despicable behavior, I admit to being less than impressed and doubly convicted that their arguments deserve none of my attention.

Chris said...

I became familiar with Minority View a few years ago when Deetee on JREF pointed out the outright cherry picking used on the blog he/she flogs:

KWombles said...

Thank you, Chris; that link was very helpful.